House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) told Maria Bartiromo on "Sunday Morning Futures" that Republicans are not intentionally blocking the release of the Democratic response to his FISA memo. Instead, he said Democrats intentionally put "sources and methods" into the memo to force the Trump administration to delay its release.
Nunes said he would like to see the Democratic memo made public, as long as proper redactions are made:
MARIA BARTIROMO, ANCHOR, SUNDAY MORNING FUTURES: That lawmaker joins me right now. House Intel Committee Chairman Devin Nunes. Mr. Chairman, it’s good to see you this morning. Thanks so much for joining us.
REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA), CHAIR, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Its great to be with you.
BARTIROMO: So let me -- let me kick it off with that and the fact that the White House has denied the request to release Adam Schiff’s memo. What can you tell us about that memo? You’ve seen it. What do we need to understand about this?
NUNES: Well first off, this was not a surprise. So this was after they had accused the Republicans of putting sources and methods into our memo, we actually did not, we just put in what the thought the American people needed to know. It was clear from the development of the Democratic memo from the very beginning that they packed it full of sources and methods.
Now, for the viewers out there, what are sources and methods? We don’t want to give up the way that our intelligence committee recruits sources, the methods that they may use to recruit (ph) sources. So these are things that don’t need to be made public. However, the Democrats knew this, they -- they packed their memo full of sources and methods. Now, on Friday night, we received a letter back from the White House.
The White House did not deny the -- the release of the democratics (ph) memo -- the Democrats’ memo. What they did is they said look, you need to made some redactions and some technical corrections here and we will get it out right away. Now, from that point, we’ve heard nothing but crickets. The Democrats have been on T.V. all weekend long. Their memo is sitting at the House Intelligence Committee down at the bottom of the capital waiting to be redacted.
If they really wanted to get it out, they’d be down there all day yesterday redacting it, getting it back over to the White House so that the public can know what’s in it
BARTIROMO: So --
NUNES: So this is -- this is nothing but politics.
BARTIROMO: And within the Democratic memo, there was no rejection of the point of your memo, which was, bottom line, the FBI used government resources to spy on a political enemy.
NUNES: Well, right. We actually want the Democratic memo out. We think it’s ridiculous on the face of it. We think it’s very political how about they attack myself, they attack Chairman Gowdy, they turn Carter Page into some super-secret Russian spy, they talk about how Christopher Steele is a really, really good source when we know that he lied to the FBI. So we want this out. We don’t know why they’re not in this weekend redacting it so that we can get it back to the White House so the president can declassify it.
BARTIROMO: Right. And but they did not deny the omission of information that has taken place here. Basically, the FBI goes to the FISA court and presents this so-called dossier of unverified information about Donald Trump during an election and they do not tell the FISA court that the dossier was actually paid for by Hillary Clinton.
NUNES: Yes. And not only that -- I mean that’s the -- the -- the crux of our argument, the (ph) why are we going through all this. Well, phase one of our investigation was to look at the FISA abuse. So we very simply said look, the -- the court didn’t know that the Democrats paid for this. Now remember, this is an -- an investigation into the other campaign. I would think a judge would need to know that.
They also omitted the fact -- after they discovered that Christopher Steele went and talked to multiple media outlets and that they had used some of those media outlets, some of the stories to corroborate the dossier, you would think somehow, someone, somewhere would say hey, we better go tell the FISA court this. They -- they didn’t do it the first time, they didn’t do it the second time, they didn’t do it the third time, in fact, they didn’t even do it the fourth time.
So a full year they were spying on an American citizen who was affiliated with the Trump campaign and the court didn’t know any of that for four times in a row.
BARTIROMO: In terms of their surveillance, did they also capture Steve Bannon and other people within the Trump campaign?
NUNES: Well, look, I mean, we don’t -- we know that Carter Page -- and we know now because it’s been declassified -- we know that anyone who was talking to Carter Page was likely picked up by authorities. Now that would include, remember, Carter Page has been a suspect of Congress. We have interviewed him. I think the Senate has interviewed him. So -- so this is scary stuff, right? I mean, this could mean that they would have congressional communications from the -- our branch of government, they would have anybody that he was talking to in the White House.
And look, let’s just -- you know, Carter Page is an interesting individual. OK? But he also was a guy who -- who cooperated with the FBI back in 2013, they used him in a court case to say the Russians actually didn’t even want to recruit Carter Page. But look, I don’t agree with Carter Page on very much, but the guy shouldn’t have his e-mails or phone calls listened to and eavesdropped in to.
BARTIROMO: Give us the new information that you’re seeking. You have asked the FISA court for what? What are you seeking now, Congressman?
NUNES: Well one of the things, this past week, that we -- we sent a letter to the FISA court asking for the transcripts of the four appearances before the FISA court. So as the FISA court approved the warrant, we want to know what transpired. So we sent a letter to the court this week asking for those transcripts so that we can make either -- at least we can have those in a classified setting. And if there’s anything we would need to make public or need to make other members of Congress aware, we would.
BARTIROMO: People want to know where this is all leading, Congressman. Now, I want to ask you about the Graham-Grassley memo. Because that memo, from Lindsey Graham and Chuck Grassley, that memo confirms everything, basically, in your memo. But it also recommends charges. Tell us about those charges that this -- this memo is recommending. Charges against the British spy, Christopher Steele.
NUNES: Yes. So it’s pretty clear -- the good thing about the Grassley-Graham memo, not only is it -- it was actually a letter. It was a criminal referral to justice. (ph) It was written before our memo was put together. So any type of -- so essentially what it does is it corroborates what we had said and it goes further than that and it really points out how Carter -- how Christopher Steele lied to the FBI. So it is a clear cut case.
Christopher Steele lied to the FBI and -- and I can’t for the life of me know, when you have the House who said that hey, this guy lied to the FBI and you have the Senate who said that this guy lied to the FBI, Christopher Steele, what is the Justice Department doing? Where is the prosecution of Christopher Steele? This is a slam dunk case. They have all the documents. And this is what makes people really wonder about having confidence that the DOJ and FBI are playing this straight up.
BARTIROMO: That’s right.
NUNES: But if they’re playing it straight up, they would have went -- they would have immediately went after -- once they were notified by Congress, hey, Christopher Steele lied to you, they would bust him for lying to the FBI.
BARTIROMO: So --
NUNES: They also -- still the big felony in all of this that nobody talks about from the very beginning was the leak of highly classified information when they leaked the phone call of the Russian ambassador talking to General Mike Flynn right before the inauguration. That was a felony. Nothing’s ever been done about it and -- and people are sitting -- like myself are sitting there, hey, you want to go after people who were colluding with -- with the Russians?
Great. But let’s first start with the felonies that we actually know that took place. And for some reason, nobody thinks that that’s important to do. Nothing’s been done and it’s absolutely outrageous.
BARTIROMO: Well that’s what I’m saying. I mean, there are more felonies that you can point to. I mean, the idea that Cheryl Mills got immunity after lying to the FBI and -- and -- and a number of other Clinton cronies getting immunity after actually lying to the FBI, the idea that two -- two FBI agents, Peter Strzok and -- and -- and his lover, the lawyer Lisa Page are saying OK, he’s winning, we need an insurance policy, what was the insurance policy? Creating all this nonsense and noise around a Russia probe and getting a special counsel involved?
So the bottom line is where are the charges? Who will we see get prosecuted as a result of this massive abuse of power, Congressman?
NUNES: So – so what we can do – what are – what can we do in our branch of government, in the – in the legislative branch of government? We provide oversight, right, so – so we look at these – these agencies, we can investigate them, and at the end of the day we can make criminal referrals, but criminal referrals only.
We don’t have a – we don’t have people that can go out and arrest people and bring them down to the capital and hold them at the – you know, in the bowels of the capital.
All we can do is make criminal referrals, so if DOJ and FBI are not going to prosecute what – what seemed to be very clear cases like with Christopher Steele lying to them, or if they’re not going to investigate clear felonies like the leak of – of very highly sensitive classified information in terms of phone calls that were intercepted.
If they’re not going to go after those, at some point the buck’s going to have to stop with someone and we – you know we will continue our investigation, but I think ultimately it will be the American people who will put the pressure not only on Congress but the other branches of government to make sure that justice is served.
BARTIROMO: Yes, so where does the buck stop? We’re going to take a break and when we come back I want to ask you a little more about this, Congressman, because you’re at a world ag expo right now, and this is turning into a street fight between you and the left who’s attacking not only you but the entire farming community.
We’re going to talk about where you are this morning as well as how far up the chain of command goes in terms of the corruption at the FBI. Does it reach Barack Obama? We’ll talk about that after this short break.
Stay with us Congressman Devin Nunes, follow me on Twitter at mariabartiromo, at sundayfutures, let us know what you want to hear from Congressman Devin Nunes, he will be back after this. Stay with us.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back. We are back now with the Chairman of the House Intel Committee, Devin Nunes. And Congressman, you know, we’re talking about this FBI investigation and -- and I want to get to phase two of your investigation and what you’re looking at at the State Department. Oh, well (ph) let’s explain where you are this morning. You are coming to us from the World AG Expo, the agriculture -- farmers -- the annual expo there.
And you know, this investigation in general has turned into something of a street fight between you and the Democrats, in particular Adam Schiff, who’s attacking you all the time. Nancy Pelosi coming out last week saying oh, Devin Nunes is not fit to run because you are seeking the truth. It’s also impacting the entire industry, isn’t it? Farmers.
NUNES: Yes. I mean, this is a part of the world -- I always call this area the canary in the coal mine. I always warn all my conservative friends and Republican allies across the country that we’ve been dealing with these people for a really long time. So we’re in the agricultural Mecca of the world. Over 300 different crops grow here. We will have the largest international ag equipment show in the world will start here tomorrow.
And so -- but -- but we have been attacked by Hollywood and San Francisco for years. In fact, so much so that a lot of the land in this area, even though it’s the most fertile and productive farmland in the world, we struggle every year because constantly they take our water and they let it flow out to the ocean. So this is not something that we’re -- that -- that is unusual. People ask me well how can -- you know, you’re getting attacked. Well look, we’re used to getting attacked here in California.
There’s been a war on people who actually build things, grow things, work with their hands. They think that, you know, if you’re in the D.C. beltway or New York City -- no offense to where you are now -- but San Francisco and Los Angeles, that this is somehow the people who make this country work. And the fact is is they don’t have a clue. They don’t have a clue where their food comes from. And so when they attack me, it means that I know exactly what’s -- what up.
It means that they are -- we have the facts --
NUNES: They do not. And they don’t want the American people to know that -- that the DOJ and FBI use political dirt from one campaign paid for by the Democrats to go and spy on the Trump campaign.
BARTIROMO: And that’s what we’re learning more and more. Thank you for what you’ve done in terms of water for the Central Valley and your district because I know that they’re trying to get all this economic activity and just put a stop to it by creating the Central Valley and putting it back to it’s natural desert-like fashion, killing all that farming. So that’s a whole ‘nother story. We’re going to do a lot on that on Mornings With Maria on the Fox Business Network coming up in the next couple of weeks.
But let me ask you about your phase two of this investigation. You are investigating now the State Department. What went on?
NUNES: So what we originally said is that we had an investigation into the State Department and how information was coming into the State Department and then getting to other agencies. Since we announced that, just a little over a week ago, we’ve had numerous people that were at the State Department at the time who have now come out and are spilling their guts.
In fact, so much so, one of them actually wrote an op-ed as to why I was investigating him. It was published in the Washington Post. Which I thought was a little bizarre, because we hadn’t even reached out to him yet. The only people that I know had reached out to him or named that individual was Chuck Grassley, Senator Grassley, who was also conducting an investigation. So names are beginning to spill out, names that I think would ring a bell, like Cody Shearer and Sidney Blumenthal, who are known long-time Hillary Clinton advocates.
This was actually before my time in Washington, when they were up to a lot of shenanigans. But most of the people who’ve been around a long time know these characters, they know they’re bad -- bad characters in terms of the -- the types of things that they’re willing to use against political adversaries.
Somehow, what it appears like, if you believe the Washington Post editorial or op-ed, is that these cast of characters were putting information similar to the -- the original Steele dossier, what appears to be in a -- a different Steele dossier, if you believe them, which was attacking Trump and feeding that into the FBI.
And -- and -- and that’s not all we’re looking at. I’m glad that they came out and puked their guts out in the Washington Post. I’d like more people to do that.
NUNES: But we are actually looking at additional challenges of information that -- that went into the State Department and went to the FBI to be used against the Republicans.
BARTIROMO: Congressman, how far up the chain does this go? Was Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton basically pulling the strings?
NUNES: Well, we know that -- that the attorney general was briefed in the spring of 2016. So we know she was made aware. We know now, by the people from the State Department who have said that John Kerry, Secretary Kerry was briefed on the dossier. We know most of the news media was briefed on the dossier. So all of this was out there -- everybody, I think, but the Trump campaign and Republicans and the American people. Everybody else outside of those three groups knew about the dossier and were actively trying to open investigations, start investigations to – to use this dirt to go after the other campaign.
BARTIROMO: Incredible. So we know that Hillary Clinton goes to run for president and she’s got the full weight and strength and power of the U.S. government behind her, where FBI and other agencies are completely politicized to make sure she wins, and she still lost.
This is just an extraordinary story.
NUNES: And not only that, Maria, but I’d also that – that the collusion is right in front of our eyes, right, people – just because you hire a lawyer who hires a firm who hires a former british spy to – to make contacts with Russians –
NUNES: That means that you were colluding with the Russians.
BARTIROMO: Yes, right, that’s called collusion. Yes, collusion, and corruption at the top of the FBI.
NUNES: And – and nobody’s looking – nobody’s looking at that.